Monday, 9 September 2013
The Peregrine II
Poul Anderson's The Peregrine (New York, 1979) contains two place names that we remember from other works by Anderson: "Arctic Resort" (p. 24) and a planet called "Vixen." (p. 33)
We have had some discussion of Biblical passages quoted by Poul Anderson. There are three in The Peregrine:
"'The heavens declare the glory of God...and the firmament showeth his handiwork...An old Terrestrial book...Very old.'" (p.52);
"What shall it profit a man if he gaineth the whole world and loseth his own soul?" (p. 77);
"Hast thou commanded the morning since thy days; and caused the dayspring to know his place?..." (p. 116)
The first and third are spontaneous responses to stars seen from spacecraft. The second is appropriately applied to human beings barbarized by their enslavement of barbarians:
"Human speech and dress and dreams were being lost, as one by one the victors took over the patterns of their slaves." (p. 77)
Solarians - a cosmopolitan, cerebral, intellectual, analytic guilt culture;
Nomads - a mobile, practical, pragmatic, trading shame culture;
Erulani - an insular, barbaric, warlike, slave-owning, tribute-exacting fear culture;
Alori - an intuitive, holistic, symbiotic, Apollonian "...modified fear culture." (p. 153)
An Alorian recognizes that the Erulani are at least alive in the now whereas the Nomads "'...would have it forever day, not remembering night and storm.'" (p. 89) She speaks against cremation, arguing that, "'The land should be strong with your bones and blossom where you lived.'" (p. 89)
I favor cremation but this passage made me reconsider burial.
A Nomad says that a Solarian thinks too much whereas her people experience the universe by traveling through it but the Alorian comments that both Nomads and Solarians try to understand life from the outside, not as part of it. The Alori "'...gently...'" exterminated uncooperative natives of some planets that they wanted to colonize. (p. 145) The Solarian reflects that man's violent history has taught him that he must respect intelligent life whereas the Alori had evolved as a unified culture. These are profound issues for an adventure novel.